Photos by Peta-Gaye Clachar/Staff Photographer
LEFT: Richard Pyle (left) shows Bishop Herro Blair a photo of himself when he came to Jamaica as a Peace Corps member in 1966. They were attending the 45th anniversary welcome dinner and reception for the new volunteers at the University of the West Indies, Mona, on Tuesday.
RIGHT: United States Ambassador Brenda LaGrange Johnson chats with Peace Corps International Director Ronald Tschetter (left) and country director for Jamaica, Howard Anderson.
Daviot Kelly, Staff Reporter
The headline also happens to be the words from country director for the United States Peace Corps Howard Anderson on Tuesday as the organisation welcomed the 78th and latest batch of volunteers at a reception and dinner.
The Rex Nettleford Hall was the venue as the 59 volunteers were getting their first taste, literally, of the island. The new batch hooked up with members of the peace corps group 77, were on hand, having just completed their first year. But the biggest applause went to group 76 who will be ending their tour of Jamaica in a few months.
Not a hard decision
International director of the corps, Ronald Tschetter, said it was not a hard decision for him to cut into his vacation time to welcome them. The corps has launched an initiative to get more 'baby boomers' involved and Jamaica will be one of the countries to help pilot the initiative. He hastened to point out that this didn't mean they were doing away with the college volunteers. But he feels the 50 and over volunteers will add a little something in terms of their experience.
It's appropriate that Jamaica should be one of the pilot countries considering this island was one of the first countries to receive volunteers and since then over 3,000 of them have been here. Tschetter, a former volunteer in the '60s in India, admitted that much had changed in 40 years, but that the passion, sense of anticipation and spirit of the volunteers stayed the same.
The guests were later entertained with patriotic songs (from both countries) as well as from violinist Nadje Leslie (who enthralled again) and the Kingston Drummers who pounded their way into the minds of the foreign contingent.